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Recap / Star Trek Online - Foundry - “Divide ut Regnes”

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WARNING: This page contains spoilers for episode "Romulan Mystery", mission "Divide et Impera".
"Divide ut Regnes" is a Star Trek Online Foundry mission by Captain.Hunter. It was the Spotlight mission for the week of January 6, 2014, and the winner of Foundry Challenge #8. It is playable by Federation or Fed-allied Romulan characters of level 46 or above.

The Cryptic mission "Divide et Impera" in the Starfleet side of the "Romulan Mystery" story arc is reviled by the playerbase for a particularly blatant case of railroading that led to the Player Character massacring a Romulan Star Navy medical research facility. On top of it, you turn out to be an Unwitting Pawn of an Undine infiltrator impersonating Admiral Zelle, enabling it to Kill and Replace the facility's commander. According to Cryptic's writing team, it was supposed to be the start of a three-mission arc, but in the end its events never came up again. Even Cryptic hated that it never got finished.

That's where Captain.Hunter came in. Using Time Travel (the topic of the Foundry Challenge), the Undine species' Psychic Powers, and some clever writing incorporating minor details from mission briefings elsewhere in the "Romulan Mystery" arc, he managed to find justifications for the Railroading and for why Zelle continues to stand immobile in Admiral T'nae's office after the mission was over.

The Player Character is called to meet Adm. T'nae at Starbase 39-Sierra in Alpha Centauri Sector Block and is introduced to a Department of Temporal Investigations officer. DTI has helped Starfleet put together a mission to travel back in time to just after your ill-fated mission with Adm. Zelle, and explains you couldn't stop killing the innocent researchers because Zelle is a Psi Master and was exerting subtle Mind Control over you. Then it turns out that right after you left on the mission, you yourself turned up at the starbase with a catatonic Zelle in tow. There's a Stable Time Loop going on, and it's time for you to fulfill it.

The mission was orphaned of its setup when "Divide et Impera" was removed from the game when the "Romulan Mystery" arc was revamped in 2015, but the Foundry community quickly restored it.

Tropes present in this Foundry mission include:

  • Arc Welding: Captain.Hunter does a lot of this, putting together seemingly unrelated details from missions before and after "Divide et Impera". For example, why are the Romulans planning an attack on the Federation in "Preemptive Strike"? They're responding to Zelle framing the Federation for the attack on Vendor Station in "Divide et Impera", and then your time-traveling ship hitting a facility on Rator III to snatch her. And how did T'nae know about the planned attack and decide to launch an un-Federation-like preemptive strike? Because your future self, i.e. the self playing "Divide ut Regnes", warned her that the attack was coming.
  • Convenient Coma: Zelle stands unresponsive in T'nae's office after "Divide et Impera" because she suffered a head injury when two Undine ships tried to rescue her after you caught her.
  • Fan Sequel: To episode "Romulan Mystery", mission "Divide et Impera".
  • Fix Fic: Addresses most if not all of the problems with "Divide et Impera" and even finds time to bring together other bits and pieces of the "Romulan Mystery" arc to make the somewhat disjointed official storyline hang together better.
  • Foregone Conclusion: You can't fail at grabbing Zelle because ... you already succeeded. Will succeed. Will have already succeeded. Oh, the hell with it.
  • For Want of a Nail: Discussed by Agent Green, invoking the "many worlds" theory. He says that although your success is a Foregone Conclusion, every decision you make branches off alternate versions of you that may or may not succeed.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The title, "divide and rule" in Latin.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming/Justified Title: "Divide et Impera", the Cryptic mission to which this is a sequel, means "divide and rule" in Latin. "Divide ut Regnes" is the operational Code Name for the attempt to capture Zelle, and means "divide so that you reign".
  • Ninja Prop: Of course, the real reason Zelle was still on Starbase 39 after Divide et Impera was for everyone else who would play the mission in the future. Here it's integrated into the plot.
  • One-Winged Angel: Once the villain is finally cornered, she fights in a weak romulan form for a while before switching to her true undine form (which isn't that much stronger). Then for no apparent reason (besides catharsis and destiny) becomes Zelle again and starts unleashing her strongest moves on you.
  • Railroading: Justified. You couldn't stop killing Romulan medical researchers because you were being Mind Controlled by Zelle.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The whole point of going on the mission is to foil the Undine infiltration of the RSE that you had a part in letting happen.
  • Stable Time Loop: Lampshaded by the Department of Temporal Investigations official consulting on the mission. Zelle's already in T'nae's office, so it's time for you to do your part to get her there.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble:
    Agent Green: This allowed ... excuse me ... will allow ... you and the <insert name of player ship> to travel through time...
  • Title Drop: "Divide ut Regnes" is spoken by the trio pictured above, in the context of the operational Code Name for the mission.